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Christine L. Allison, Darrell Schlange; Saccadic and Fixation Control in Relationship to Birth Order. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):4702.
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The purpose of this ongoing study is to evaluate the relationship that birth order may have in regards to saccadic and fixation eye-movement abilities. It is theorized that first children and children with no siblings may exhibit better saccades and fixation control prior to entering Kindergarten due to their play activities and reading experiences.
61 children were examined the summer prior to entering Kindergarten. The age range of these children was 4 to 6 years. Each child was given a full comprehensive eye examination including tests of accommodation and vergence, as well as a full ocular health evaluation. The children also received an analysis of their saccades and fixations as recorded with the Visagraph Visual Skills protocol. The parents completed a survey regarding the number and ages of siblings, prior school history, and the amount of time the children spent on specific tasks such as being read to by an adult, playing near vision games, and participating in outdoor activities.
Children who were first in birth order exhibited better fixation control with fewer off-target drifts (F 17.699, p = 0.023) and more efficient horizontal saccades (F 12.379, p = 0.031). These observations were also noted in the children that were read to more often and performed more near vision games.
The type of activities that first born children are encouraged to perform may lead to better eye movement skills by the time they enter elementary school. This may result in early school success and earlier reading when compared to children later in the birth order. These children will also be re-examined in their later school years to determine if these observations remain with age.
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